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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Copper adparticle enabled selective electrosynthesis of n-propanol.

  • Author(s): Li, Jun;
  • Che, Fanglin;
  • Pang, Yuanjie;
  • Zou, Chengqin;
  • Howe, Jane Y;
  • Burdyny, Thomas;
  • Edwards, Jonathan P;
  • Wang, Yuhang;
  • Li, Fengwang;
  • Wang, Ziyun;
  • De Luna, Phil;
  • Dinh, Cao-Thang;
  • Zhuang, Tao-Tao;
  • Saidaminov, Makhsud I;
  • Cheng, Shaobo;
  • Wu, Tianpin;
  • Finfrock, Y Zou;
  • Ma, Lu;
  • Hsieh, Shang-Hsien;
  • Liu, Yi-Sheng;
  • Botton, Gianluigi A;
  • Pong, Way-Faung;
  • Du, Xiwen;
  • Guo, Jinghua;
  • Sham, Tsun-Kong;
  • Sargent, Edward H;
  • Sinton, David
  • et al.

The electrochemical reduction of carbon monoxide is a promising approach for the renewable production of carbon-based fuels and chemicals. Copper shows activity toward multi-carbon products from CO reduction, with reaction selectivity favoring two-carbon products; however, efficient conversion of CO to higher carbon products such as n-propanol, a liquid fuel, has yet to be achieved. We hypothesize that copper adparticles, possessing a high density of under-coordinated atoms, could serve as preferential sites for n-propanol formation. Density functional theory calculations suggest that copper adparticles increase CO binding energy and stabilize two-carbon intermediates, facilitating coupling between adsorbed *CO and two-carbon intermediates to form three-carbon products. We form adparticle-covered catalysts in-situ by mediating catalyst growth with strong CO chemisorption. The new catalysts exhibit an n-propanol Faradaic efficiency of 23% from CO reduction at an n-propanol partial current density of 11 mA cm-2.

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